By Humphrey Carter PALMA

THE commercial and hostelry sectors paid a heavy price for the recession last month accounting for 70 percent of all jobs lost in the Balearics.
The combination of a poor winter trading period on the high streets and an equally quiet winter tourism season led to the loss of a number of jobs in the retail and service sectors.

Of the 90'588 officially registered unemployed in January, 63'800 of them had lost their jobs in either the retail or service sectors, some 22 percent more than during January, 2009 and 0.2 percent more than during December.

The axe has been wielded the most on hotel staff with only 15 percent of the hotel sector in Majorca open this winter, for example.
But bar, restaurant and shop staff have also been left fearing for their jobs although with Easter just a month away, an improvement is expected in the service sector.

Last week, sources for the Majorcan Hotel federation claimed that all of the island's hotels are going to be open for Easter and this should create a wealth of new jobs in the hotels and the holiday resorts as they begin to reopen.

The commercial sector is also hoping to see a reversal of fortunes next month if the tourist sector does begin to create new jobs and boost consumer confidence.

Retailers are also being buoyed by the reports from the tourist industry, both at home and overseas, of a steady increase in the sales of holidays to the Balearics.

However, a report released yesterday revealed that most young people are preparing for a long recession and few job prospects for the immediate future.
Apparently, more and more people aged under 25 are opting to continue or prolong their studies than start looking for work.
Spain continues to have the highest rate of unemployment in the European Union and the Balearics has one of the highest numbers of people out of work in the country with over 100'000 of the active population jobless.

While Euro unemployment held at 9.9 percent in January, Spain has the highest unemployment at 18.8 percent.